Friday, January 30, 2009

Taking Public Trans to Another Rugby Game

It's been an exciting week. Tomorrow morning bright and early I'm leaving to catch a rugby match, the first league game of the season. UCSC vs Santa Clara! It should be fun. Wish me luck getting there and I'll give the full update once I get back.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

UCSC vs Chico + Rugby Videos Galore

To start out...I'm no longer on emo island (pronounced emu and accompanied by a hand gesture representing emo curtains aka bangs). I got to hang out with my old D2 front row rival and buddy come new teammate Georgi. We went to a godawful drag show last night but had a good time until that point. Went to the follow up interview today for that random gambling associate job (that's kinda sketch) and subsequently passed an became an actual candidate (woo!). I also drove there and to my friend Mishi's house (ex-teammate) and told her what's up in rugby news ('cause she obviously doesn't read my blog). I got to recharge my cat batteries by playing with her new kitty "Cougar" for an hour and now I'm all warm and fuzzy. I told her about the new team forming up in the South Bay and about the Philippine women's national rugby team (they're taking all comers who have XV's experience and a Filipino parent). So I'm slowly but surely getting over my phobia of driving (I drove to TWO places today). I had dinner with my host family and bonded with the dad by trading injury stories and listening about his motorcycle wrecks. I also filled out an application for an awesome admin assistant job at Mills (which I really hope I get) and now am semi-proficient at writing cover letters. Basically I feel pretty accomplished today...I think I'm finally getting back into the swing of things.

So now it's time for the Ruuuuuuugby Reeeewind where I review all the shit I haven't talked about in the last month. So we (UCSC...even though I'm an alum) played chico, and it was kick ass to see things really start to come together. Holy fuck do we have a lot of girls! We have 45 rostered players!! Granted subtract like 5 for quitters and 10 injured folk (I'm serious it's ridiculous) we have about 30 healthy kids. THIRTY, it's league time and we have THIRTY healthy ruggers. Shit son we won nationals with 16-17. It's madness (and an indicator that it's about time for Santa Cruz to move up to D1). Kids are busting gut at work out groups, attending practice, and learning (they're finally getting over the hump of trying to get by without vets). It's awesome! The Chico game wasn't perfect by any stretch but it was a good indicator of what this team can do once it starts firing on all cylinders. Chico isn't a bad side, they're in a rebuilding year as well, and rumor has it they benched a few of their starters in the first half. But their grizzly was on the pitch and I recognized quite a few decent players so we weren't playing no b-side either. UCSC struck first with a bloody gorgeous try in the opening minute, and it was a long beauty starting near their own twenty-two. The ball was brought to the outside then swiftly back in with great support play between backs and the forwards (our lovely 8 Kari Lentz touched it down after staving off two fierce looking chico wildcats).

Our scrums were significantly better (we were MOVING THEM), our lineouts were often not straight (although occasionally unfairly called), our rucks worked fairly well. Service from the back of the scrum wasn't great though, which would be more of a cause for concern if their scrumhalf wasn't continually offside (and FEEDING SIR!) but I know the woman and she's a great chica off the pitch (lets just call her effective since the ref never called it).

Lots of infringements and knockons from both sides (a surprisingly high amount from chico). Ermm chico did a lot of pick and goes and did a lot of inside passing and pack play. It wasn't until the 2nd half that they began opening the game up and spreading out their attack (which finally exploited the dreaded d2 vs d1 fitness gap. Oh and one of our props wore ridiculously ugly gold metallic spandex tights and I was embarrassed cause the doofus was on our team (it was like the bandanna girl from Plymouth State or those obnoxious pink poodle skirts that Coast wore a couple years back in SoCal 7s tournaments) I just wanted to run onto the pitch and tackle the crap out of her. *ahem* alright so overall nice passage of play, two 40 minute halves and then an extra 20 min b-side match. The ref was hella chill, friendly, congenial, and kept the game flowing as much as possible. I gave him a bit of stick from the sidelines but I think I'm just getting itchy to be healthy and play again. We were offsides on defense, they were offsides defensively on set plays, and they were LAYING ALL OVER THE BALL. There was a weird call for "funneling"? Worst play of the game was when our fullback/wing popped an egg to the other team and proceeded to protect it from her teammates.

Oh I ran into Carrie an old chico alum who played U-23 grizzlies and now plays for NYC..and I don't remember her name! I played on a tens team with her "TEAM KARI/CARRIE" at a Berkeley tournament a couple years back. If anyone could help me out with that it'd be nice. She's a little blonde scrumhalf so it isn't Carrie Dubray. Although apparently she played in the National Championship final against Berkeley.

Right...well here's the ref report on
UC SANTA CRUZ women 26 – Chico State 5 Referee: Schnack
UCSC Women beat Chico State Women at UCSC, 26-5, on Saturday January 24th.

This was a fun match backed by seasonably appropriate cold with light rain, a few whistles, four first-half Slug tries, a few close (but not close enough) deep excursions by Chico, and finally an excellent second-half five-phase (with advantage) try by Chico.

Great follow-up and support, along with tenacious running gave the Slugs a 26-0 lead at half. Chico's game was sidetracked with infringements at the tackle and rucks, not to mention committing too many folks (intentionally or not) into the rucks.

The second half was a cleaner version of the first, with both sides taking to each other. Chico put together some good possessions, and got some reward that Saturday with a fun five+ phase combo of runtackleruckruntackleruckadvantagespinoutruntacklepoppasstackleruckrun...etc. Experiencing a series like that makes me happy to be breathing.A quick 2nd sides match followed (thanks to both Santa Rose JC and UCSC Mens for giving them twenty). The Slugs won this, for what it's worth, unofficially 7-0 (score torn off for a grocery list now long gone, so I don't have the final).

Fun day, welcome rain, more welcome rugby for folks. Here's to more of it.

There's plenty of more stuff on rugby rewind! But that's for later on in the week. Aren't you glad I'm finally getting caught up?

Here's two great videos (WATCH THEM IN HD otherwise they're pretty unviewable), one from rugbydump and the other from Drew Women's RFC. Doesn't it just make you feel special?

ps the rugby in this next video is pretty poor but g'damnit the comedy is great

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Damn I've been dragging ass

Soooo I haven't done a whole lot of posting this understatement! And unlike Wendy I don't have an excuse =p. Alright let's get life I've moved up to Oakland and I'm having a grand old time sitting on my butt pretending to look for a job. So I need to get on that, and my rehab, and find some friends up here. It's official, graduating, moving to a new city, and being unemployed pretty much is the perfect way to HAVE NO FRIENDS and be bored shitless. Yes I could wander around town and enjoy myself if I wasn't unemployed with a savings fund that is shrinking by the day and on top of that I'm supposed to minimize the amount of walking I'm supposed to do and finally the guilt of not working on getting a job has been causing me to hole up and pretend I'm trying to get a job (which I'm kinda not). *sigh*. So I took a week off (after taking a week off to move, and then taking a week off to recover from dealing with my fam for a week...) and it's been a whole month since I've graduated and I haven't done a whole lot. About two weeks ago I got cleared to walk (cause my bones healed) but yea I'm not supposed to do it mondo and I need to rehab my hip because I can't even sit in the butterfly stretch position (yea, sit, not even do it). It's pretty worrisome and bumming me out 'cause I can't afford rehab but this is something that will definitely prevent me from playing rugby again if I don't fix it right.I've been cycling 20 min a day (sometimes twice) but I still can't walk quickly. So that's my rant, which is perfect because now that I've expressed it I can look back at it tomorrow and realize what a silly git I am and get on with finding a job. Man I love this blog (which shouldn't be a diary but really is).

In RUGBY NEWS (which is the only reason people read this if they read it at all)...
UC Berkeley (aka CAL) had their annual clinic at UCSC and I was still in town to observe. Head Coach Ellen Owens and asst coach Katie Chou ran the clinic with our coaches and led the kids through some fun box play drills. In groups of 15-20 per box the facilitator would call out two numbers, the first being how many people should group together and the second how many pairs of feet were allowed to be touching the ground. An example would be 4,2 where four people had to make a group where only two people had feet on the ground, so they'd either have two people piggy back or toss themselves on the ground. There were some basic hands drills and then bringing it wide with inside passing at the end. There was also a box tackle drill where each box was split into two numbered teams. Each team stood on a sideline with the ball in the middle of the box. The facilitator would call out a two numbers, and those players would turn the corner and race for the ball. The first person there would tap the ball and be a defender, the second would pick the ball and try and score. It was interesting because while I was watching this drill one of my injured teammates asked me why we didn't do fun drills like this. At first I was going to answer something flip like we don't have time, or a coach chooses not to but it really comes down to intensity and focus. The Berkeley girls were so determined and dedicated in their runs and tackles, they were getting something out of it. The Santa Cruz girls weren't learning from their mistakes, they weren't adjusting to the drills. Yea it's not an answer, we definitely need to mix it up more, it's just frustrating that their fundamentals were so much better then ours =p (granted they practice 3x as much as us). There was a scrimmage which went fairly well considering we were still working out a number of kinks, like being a line in defense, scrums were miserable (but an improvement from practice, and our rucks were ornamental to non-existent. The positives of the game were: our backs are lethal when they have the ball, we started winning rucks in the second half (by over committing but whatever), our first pod could win it's own ball (another improvement compared to pre-season). Overall it was a massive step up for the slugs and were in the lead for almost all of the 2nd half until their fitness beat out our tired rookie forwards and scored 2 tries at the end.

Forwards had a few goes..

Some unsupported but great back breaks

And a sick line cut by our fly led to a try

here's the match report from

UC Santa Cruz women 24 – CALIFORNIA 34 Referee: Mike King
A brilliant day for a social match overlooking the Monterey Bay on the hill at UC Santa Cruz. The contest was preceded by an innovative skill session mentored by the combined coaching staffs. A mixture of experience and rookie enthusiasm took the pitch, with a battle between 2 balanced teams. The contest was not decided until 2 long tries by Cal near the end of regulation.

There's more exciting news that I'll post later in the day, like our game against Chico and my first meeting with the All Blues but holla I got to go get a job! (and buy food at costco)

Friday, January 02, 2009

Grown Up Rugby

I've kinda been dragging my heals lately...I'm still getting over the fact that I'm really...done with school and adulthood is slapping me across the face. Ok not yet but I can see it coming like being pinned at the bottom of a ruck and seeing a cleat come down on your face in slow-mo. Or when you see a girl stiff arming you from a mile away but you're...ok I'm stalling. I still need to pack up. Move. Get a job. Heal my hip. Get insurance. Play rugby again! Ok somewhere in between all that I have to balance my body again and yknow, relearn how to walk =p. Figure out how to have a long distance relationship, get certified in computer crap, practice design work, build a website for my parents restaurant, fix the car, find friends in the bay, inspire the kids to get through school not just drink...oh and somehow teach them to be upbeat and dream and hope. Get over having to give up my cat. Live with a dog. Live under some families roof that is not my own. Live life as an adult. Deal. Do better. Improve. Ignore the fact that everything is crazy expensive, there are no jobs, and the niggling sensation that this may be the beginning of the end....(see this is the crap you have to deal with being a politics major...)

Right. This blog is about rugby...I'm sorry I forgot.

I'll try and focus in on that more in my next post. It's interesting because the east coast has finally made an official petition to have D1 final 4s and the national championship match on their side of the country. Traveling costs are ludicrous, we've certainly benefited from having the finals in our backyard but I kinda feel like weather, facilities, and community trump the day. I don't really give a shit where you have Elite 8s (as long as its not New Mexico again) but really for the time of year, why not Stanford. I agree with one of the comments on's just worth it to have it there as an experience for the players and the fans. Yea penn state (and trust me penn state and navy are the only teams with a valid weight cause they're there year after year) can complain about not having enough fans but I've been on that field and won, I've been on that field and lost. When you're on the pitch, you don't notice if the crowd is for you or against you, you're just proud that there's so many people there to watch you play! Yea it sucks to travel and to lose..but trust me you won't give a shit about the money if you win. Stanford is a great place to host the championship, it builds that experience, bay area press have routinely given it multiple page complementary articles (unlike (@&# New Mexico). I know I'm rambling but here's the Stanford you're drawing in two powerhouse teams and fan bases in addition to traveling fans, I'd rather win or lose in front of people then feel that no one is watching and no one cares.